Find out how these incredible natural formations were fashioned in the first place!

Within the dry desert of Western Australia’s Nambung National Park, is a truly awe-inspiring sight. Featuring a series of weathered rock spires known as the Pinnacles, arising out of the bold yellow sandy ground. Located only 250 kilometres from Perth, the Pinnacles are an ideal day trip for many travellers, as the natural rock formations marvel all who see it. But how exactly did these massive structures form in the first place?

About the Pinnacles

These amazing natural limestone structures stretch up as high as five metres, scattered about randomly in the dry desert landscape. The raw material of the limestone stacks is said to from seashells, which give evidence of how old these structures truly are, with this region being rich in marine life approximately 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.

The Theories of how they Formed

The first theory is that the Pinnacles were formed as dissolution remnants of the Tamala Limestone. Meaning that they were formed from ongoing solutional weathering, also known as karstification.

A second theory states that the Pinnacles were formed through the preservation of tree casts buried in coastal aeolianites. Where the roots of the trees became groundwater conduits, which resulted in the precipitation of hard calcrete. After continuous erosion by the wind, the stacks then exposed the calcrete pillars.

The third theory proposes that the Pinnacles were created by plants. It occurred when the plants drew in water through the soil to the roots for nutrition. By doing this, they drew in other minerals, causing a ‘mass flow’ surrounding the roots. Calcium was one of the main nutrients in the mass flow, and over time caused the accumulation to form calcrete. After the plants perishing, the ongoing weather erosion caused the ground level to lower, with the calcrete formations rising above the ground surface to form the famous Pinnacles.

The Aboriginal Community’s connection to the Pinnacles

The Pinnacles are sacred to the local Aboriginal people known as the Nyoongar people. The name ‘Nambung’ means ‘crooked’ and refers to the river which weaves through the region. The Pinnacles are a spiritual site, with the community believing the Pinnacles are fossilised ghosts. The history with the Pinnacles goes back at least 6,000 years, with ancient Aboriginal artefacts found in the region.

How to See them

Simply taking a scenic walk or drive around the Pinnacles trails is enough to marvel at the ancient pillars. The coastal location of the Pinnacles means there are plenty of beaches in the vicinity, so you can even enjoy a swim after visiting this ancient dessert region!

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